Sunday, February 6, 2011

Letter from Rich Ruster to Optic

I attended the second Mora County Commission meeting of the new administration on January 11, 2011. I was very impressed by the tone of openness, transparency and professionalism that was set by the new Commission composed of Paula Garcia (Chair), John Olivas and incumbent Laudente Quintana. The meeting room was full to overflowing and the citizens were able to witness and participate in an extended morning and afternoon session that covered a lot of urgent and important topics including a presentation by State Representative Thomas Garcia. The entire meeting supported the Commission to get off to a strong start this year with the daunting agenda that they inherited, in the midst of economically challenging times.

The largest single focus of the meeting was when the Commission was briefed about the entire history of the process that has led to the new Courthouse that is currently under construction. The history was presented by the architectural firm for the project. They offered an extended report and laid out in detail how it began and progressed, and many hard and revealing questions were asked of them. I think everyone in the room came away with a much more complete picture of the sequence and the critical decisions that were made along the way that put us in the situation we are in as a county today where we have only the beginning of a very large building that will require many millions of dollars more to complete.

The whole process helped me move beyond rumors and hearsay into a fact-based understanding which helped me get beyond criticism and wrong-making into realizing that everyone did the best they could at the time as changing circumstances unfolded. It became clear that the citizens of Mora voted to have a new courthouse and now, regardless of the decisions that were made in the past that seemed to make sense at the time, we must move forward and pull together as citizens of Mora to finish this project in a way that will best serve the county. It is time for us to move past the blame game and into effective problem solving for the benefit of us all.

I would encourage the Commission to continue to keep the citizens informed and engaged with the process, possibly with periodic meetings devoted to this project scheduled on weekends or evenings so that all citizens can attend. It would help us to end up united and supportive of a building that, in the end, will serve the county for generations to come. We have the possibility of reducing energy costs dramatically by using regenerative and sustainable energy, for instance, that could end up having our Courthouse and County building be a model to be proud of.

Rich Ruster, Ph.D.

Cleveland, New Mexico

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